I’ve made no bones about it: Mr. How Sweet likes things plain.

I can’t tell you how many times I have offered to make dinner, asked him what he wants, then made an extravagant version of the dish he originally requested. I just can’t help myself.

But sometimes he gets annoyed by that. I know. He is weird, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want their dish souped up in a fancy style that is obviously going to make it taste so much better?

So that is where these chicken fingers come in.

I’ve made healthier buffalo chicken fingers, honey-ginger chicken fingers, BBQ chicken fingers, and parmesan ranch chicken fingers. Is it too much to ask for me to make the man some plain chicken fingers? No matter how much is cuts me to my core.

These were inspired by the chicken fingers Mr. How Sweet ordered during happy hour while we were in DC. I had a bite and truly, they were probably the best chicken fingers I’ve ever tasted. The breading was clearly panko (and maybe something else?) and it was thick and very crunchy.

I tend to shy away from chicken fingers for the simple reason that I watched my brothers eat 4-5 frozen chicken patties a day during the summers of our youth. I was usually too busy watching Now and Then for the 18th time, but can still smell the chicken finger scent wafting through our house.

On a whim, I tasted one of these chicken fingers and was shocked – it was incredible. And crispy. And crunchy. And delightful.

Crunchy Chicken Fingers

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders

2 cups low-fat buttermilk

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3 cups panko bread crumbs

1 cup corn flake crumbs

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon pepper

For 2-24 hours, soak chicken tenders in buttermilk. I do this in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Preheat oven to 450.

Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and spray it with non-stick spray. In a separate bowl, mix flour, panko, corn flake crumbs, salt and pepper. Dip the chicken tender in the panko mix and coat thoroughly, then lay on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Spray each chicken piece lightly with cooking spray (it will help them crisp) and bake for 12 minutes. Flip and bake for 12 more. Let cool.

As usual, Mr How Sweet dipped these in gallon of ketchup. I’m waiting for the day when he dips his chocolate chip cookies in ketchup.

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97 Responses to “Crunchy Chicken Fingers.”

  1. #
    Erica — October 21, 2010 @ 4:10 am

    I always use panko on Josh’s chicken fingers! They add such a nice crunch. Plus you can play around with all the other seasoning add ins. And baking them on the cooling wrack really helps with the even browning. Great work. I bet the man loved these.


  2. #
    Amanda — October 21, 2010 @ 4:12 am

    We do these about once a month. My daughter LOVES them and so does my hubby. Most of the time I also add some flaked coconut and do shrimp and chicken. I love how crispy and crunchy the coating is without frying.

    If I add coconut I also whip up a small bowl of plain greek yogurt with some crushed pineapple and coconut creme for a dip.


    • Jessica — October 21st, 2010 @ 4:19 am

      My husband hates coconut, but I could do that for myself and would LOVE to try that dip!


  3. #
    Ami @ beyondpeasandcarrots — October 21, 2010 @ 4:18 am

    mmmm I love anything with a crunchy coating! I also love Now and Then!!! My best friend and I watched it like a million times one year too haha.


  4. #
    Cara — October 21, 2010 @ 4:25 am

    Restaurant worthy!
    Nice job!


  5. #
    Estela @ Weekly Bite — October 21, 2010 @ 4:32 am

    I can’t wait to make these for M! She’ll love these!


  6. #
    Kim in MD — October 21, 2010 @ 4:43 am

    Wow…chicken fingers that are healthy and delicious? Who knew that was posssible? I do love panko, and soaking them in buttermilk must make them incredibly tender! My family will love these! :-)


  7. #
    imwaytoobusy — October 21, 2010 @ 4:46 am

    Healthy chicken fingers!? I love it! They look fabulous!


  8. #
    Katrina — October 21, 2010 @ 4:49 am

    Great recipe! Buttermilk is a must for coating chicken fingers (says my former meat eating self).


  9. #
    Mr. How Sweet — October 21, 2010 @ 5:00 am

    Making plain chicken fingers cuts you to your core?? Good to see someone took their slightly over-dramatic pill this morning. :)


  10. #
    Mr. How Sweet — October 21, 2010 @ 5:07 am



  11. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — October 21, 2010 @ 5:10 am

    My roommate eats chicken fingers (the kind that you get in the freezer section, in the box) practically every night and I haven’t a clue how she does it. CLEARLY, she hasn’t seen your chicken fingers Jess!!
    The other night I made snapper and crusted it with Triscuit Thin Crisp crumbs…SO good!! The taste was even better than panko!!


    • Jessica — October 21st, 2010 @ 6:13 am

      That sounds delicious!


  12. #
    Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) — October 21, 2010 @ 5:17 am

    These look great – I have no idea why but we hardly ever make chicken fingers…maybe that will change now =)


  13. #
    Tabitha (From Single to Married) — October 21, 2010 @ 5:23 am

    my husband would love these (also a fan of simple but willing to try whatever I place before him). :)


  14. #
    Pretend Chef — October 21, 2010 @ 5:36 am

    I will have to make these for my itty bitty. I know he will love these! All of the other variations you have made for Mr. How Sweet sound delicious and I’m sure if I made them in our household my Mr. Sideline Chef would have the same reaction about just requesting them plain. As in: “Next time can “we” try these without all the extra crap added in.” Boys. Delusional.



  15. #
    Talia @ Texas Gunslinger — October 21, 2010 @ 5:36 am

    These look SO yummy! I like my chicken fingers crispy and crunchy, too! Good job–especially holding off on the “make the dish as extravagant and decadent as possible”. I hate to admit it, but I’m kind of a “plain Jane” girl, too, when it comes to lots of things. I don’t really like “gourmet” food too much. I’m branching out a *little* into appreciating new flavors, but I’m definitely no foodie and could eat the same things day in and day out and have no problem (wait a sec, I DO eat the same things day in and day out…hmmm) ;)


  16. #
    Holly @ couchpotatoathlete — October 21, 2010 @ 5:49 am

    My younger sister eats everything covered in ketchup — when we were younger she would put ketchup on her rice — it looked disgusting!

    Thanks for the recipe, these look really crispy and delicious!


  17. #
    Matt — October 21, 2010 @ 5:51 am

    These totally bring me back to 7th grade when I would get the chicken finger basket with cheese sauce for lunch EVERY day. School lunch of champions right there ;)


  18. #
    Naomi(onefitfoodie) — October 21, 2010 @ 6:11 am

    you let me know when that day comes….and hopefully the cookies will be made with SUGAR and not SALT hahaha omg I needed you in my kitchen last night!!! I did ened up making them again with brown sugar and my mom LOVED them! :)


    • Jessica — October 21st, 2010 @ 6:12 am

      LOL! Oh my gosh girl… you had me cracking up. So glad they turned out. :)


  19. #
    Sophie @ yumventures — October 21, 2010 @ 6:17 am

    I’ve tried making chicken fingers in the oven but they never quite turn out crispy. I’m definitely giving these a try!!


  20. #
    Stephanie — October 21, 2010 @ 6:19 am

    I’ve never cooked with panko before but definitely need to get on that train – these look great!


    • Jessica — October 21st, 2010 @ 7:14 am

      Oh girl… you NEED to!


  21. #
    Joslyn @ missfitbliss — October 21, 2010 @ 6:19 am

    I’m definitely going to try these out for my boyfriend! I love that last shot – gorgeous!


  22. #
    Amalia — October 21, 2010 @ 6:26 am

    I dip everything…everything…in ketchup as well ;)
    My brother and cousins are like your husband, everything is too fancy for them and I love “fancy” but they just want plain vanilla cake and chocolate frosting. Not even bittersweet chocolate. Milk chocolate. *sigh* But I guess I could really do with these chicken fingers ;) Thanks!




  23. #
    Jenna — October 21, 2010 @ 6:36 am

    I was going to say how amazing these would be with some coconut flakes, but others have already suggested it. I’d take them with or wtihout, not going to be fussy! :)


  24. #
    Eliana — October 21, 2010 @ 6:42 am

    Good simple chicken fingers are the best and these look like they won’t disappoint.


  25. #
    Monique — October 21, 2010 @ 6:52 am

    Nicely done!
    My ex was a big fan of Ketchup (yuck)… while i am a bit of a Mayo snob… i will put mayo on almost anything LOL


  26. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — October 21, 2010 @ 7:01 am

    oooooooh, next time you should spice up the ketchup for dipping! i want to make these, like, yesterday…


  27. #
    kelly — October 21, 2010 @ 7:36 am

    haha, my husband is the same way. I always try to add special things to a make ordinary meals more special and he always is like… what’s different? Change it back! lol. Men ;)


  28. #
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert — October 21, 2010 @ 7:37 am

    I used to get offended that my husband put ketchup on everything. He even puts it on cottage cheese. We came to an understanding that he had to take at least one bite first before smothering it in ketchup. He now takes a bite, tells me how much he likes it and slowly works his way to the fridge for a squeeze – and I don’t mean me!


    • Jessica — October 21st, 2010 @ 7:39 am

      Hahahah! This cracked me up. :)


    • Casper — October 21st, 2010 @ 8:32 am

      I do the same thing and annoys my husband more than anything. What really kills him is when I put steak sauce on a steak before trying it. It isn’t that I don’t think his steak is good enough it is simply that I really love the taste of steak sauce. So when ever I chance to eat it, I jump at it. So now, I take one bite and tell him how wonderful it is….. than I can pour on the steak sauce!


  29. #
    Krystle — October 21, 2010 @ 7:44 am

    Chicken fingers are one of my favorite foods! Yum…these look delicious!


  30. #
    AllieNic @Frisky Lemon — October 21, 2010 @ 7:46 am

    I heart chicken fingers! Most recently I’ve been making them with shredded coconut instead of bread crumbs…it’s pretty awesome! With a little honey mustard on the side…delicious!


  31. #
    the blissful baker — October 21, 2010 @ 7:50 am

    yummy! i never thought to use panko for chicken fingers, but i have a huge bag of it in the cupboard right now. I will definitely put it to good use :)


  32. #
    Tracy — October 21, 2010 @ 7:53 am

    My hubby likes things plain, too…but I would gladly eat these!!


  33. #
    Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries — October 21, 2010 @ 8:20 am

    Cornflakes just take faux fried food up a notch, don’t they? Love that addition.


  34. #
    Casper — October 21, 2010 @ 8:27 am

    Isn’t that just the best movie ever! I think I sent a couple VHS copies of that to movie heaven because I watched them too much. Thank heavens I have the DVD now. Good choice! … The chicken fingers looked good as well. Luckily my husband likes lots of flavor so I don’t have to make too many things plain :)


  35. #
    Moni'sMeals — October 21, 2010 @ 8:28 am

    These turned out beautifully. I do a recipe similiar but I must say yours look very pretty. :) Mine seem a lil burnt sometimes.
    Great recipe for the kids who are addicted to nuggets with god know how much *crap* in them.


  36. #
    Chicago Cuisine Critique — October 21, 2010 @ 8:40 am

    These look great!


  37. #
    Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) — October 21, 2010 @ 8:44 am

    Those look like rediculously good man food Jess!! I need to get one of those racks so my food can get crispy on both sides.


  38. #
    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — October 21, 2010 @ 8:45 am

    Cornflake crumbs are the best! I could even see these served with honey mustard for football Sunday!


  39. #
    Becca — October 21, 2010 @ 8:51 am

    I love panko! They make every recipe that requires breadcrumbs just a little bit tastier.


  40. #
    slamdunk — October 21, 2010 @ 9:12 am

    “Restaurant worthy” I was thinking the same thing.

    This looks delicious.


  41. #
    Sarah — October 21, 2010 @ 9:17 am

    I am going to have to try these!


  42. #
    Meaghen — October 21, 2010 @ 9:18 am

    I love the idea of homemade chicken fingers! I really don’t like store bought ones as no matter how good of a brand they are, I always feel like I’m eating some type of “chicken parts” in them. There is always a chewy bit to them that just turns me right off. These look amazing though!


  43. #
    Wei-Wei — October 21, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    Mmmmmmm. Probably crunchy because of the cereal – what about another uber-crunchy cereal like…. rice krispies? (….gross.)


  44. #
    Dana — October 21, 2010 @ 9:36 am

    Sometimes simple is the way to go… these sounds perfect!


  45. #
    Blond Duck — October 21, 2010 @ 9:49 am

    I know what I’m making this weekend! YUM!


  46. #
    Madeline - Greens and Jeans — October 21, 2010 @ 10:03 am

    I always dip my chicken fingers in mayo. Go big or go home.


  47. #
    Lauren L — October 21, 2010 @ 10:12 am

    I love your food photos. I can tell that you really put time into styling the food pics and it shows. Know that readers appreciate that :) Do you think you could (if possible) start posting some pics of the cooking process as well? It is always helpful, especially if I’m looking for a new cooking technique. I know, more work for you ;) Just thought I’d ask :)


  48. #
    Jessica@tastyandtrim — October 21, 2010 @ 10:14 am

    I love using panko bread crumbs – the texture is SO much better than standard bread crumbs! What a clever idea to add corn flake crumbs to the mix! I need to give these babies a try :)


  49. #
    Laura — October 21, 2010 @ 10:46 am

    What was the name of place where you got the chicken fingers in DC? I used to order chicken fingers every single time my family went out to eat when I was younger, so I consider myself well-educated on this subject, and would love to try the place!!

    Thanks for the blog. I’m new, but I’ve loved it and have been passing it on!


  50. #
    Jenn from Much to My Delight — October 21, 2010 @ 11:22 am

    Oooh yeah! The combination of panko and cornflake crumbs sounds like a winner! Maybe my niece and nephew will actually eat these. I always seem to get it wrong with them, but this seems both kid and adult-friendly. Holla!



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